OR 1999 528I?

1997 BMW 318i • 158,000 miles

I am currently looking at an option to buy two cars. Either a 1999 528i or a 1997 318i. I'm looking to save money on gas but I understand that it's not a big difference in price paid for gas because the first takes regular and the second takes premium. The 528i has 150k miles and the 318i has 158k miles. The 528i owner is asking for 4000 (no mechanical problems, just very minor damage on back right fender) and 318i (no problems at all) is asking for 3300. Which car do you advise me to buy? I am a teen and looking for cool looks too, which one is considered more "cool". I know that the 528i is going to be more fun to drive but which car is more reliable and has less problems if taken the right care of?
July 2, 2012.

BMWs are quite reliable either way. If you take care of them you should not have any problems except of course for normal wear items. As far as gas goes the 528 will suck down a good bit more and when you fill a tank with premium over regular it costs say.20 cents per gallon more and in a 10 gallon tank, I realize they are bigger, that would be 2.00 dollars more per tank. You will probably spend maore money on a car thet get 10MPG less than the other even if you run premium. Especially in stop and go and even on the highway the 528 will have a lot more wind drag and the 328 probably does better on the highway too.
I don't think you could go wrong with either car as those are good years of BMWs and either car could get 200,000 miles if maintained correctly.
Really, in the end you will wish you had gotten what you wanted out of the 2. The cost and reliability is not really enough of a difference as far as having a car that you are truly happy with. Of course if money makes you truly happy, I would get the real numbers on the MPG of each car and the real price of gas where you live and crunch the numbers for a years time.

Thanks. It's a 318i not a 328. I don't really get your point on gas . The first car has more MPG but takes premium. And the second has a bit less but takes regular. But ultimately, if it came down to you, which would you buy?

Jul 2, 2012.
Oddly enough I am getting a 1998 528i that was my mom's. It is quite a big car. My parent's used to have a 3 series a long time ago.
Personally I think the 5 series is a little too big, but I don't have kids or anything like that. I prefer small cars as they get better gas mileage, usually, are more fun to drive and easier to make handle well. I used to road race motor cycles so I enjoy going around turns fast.
They both have good power. If the 3 series were a manual I would absolutely want it over the 5 series.
The point about gas that I was trying to make was to see the price differenece it would cost in one year for gas. You would have to take into account the difference in cost per gallon of premium versus regular and then estimate how many miles you drive a month or year. Then take the difference in cost per gallon and use the MPG and your annual mileage to calculate the cost difference in gas per year of each vehicle. I bet it would not be a lot.
So, I would go 3 series. A BMW is a BMW and they are great cars. The 5 series will actually cost more to maintain too.